There are many different recipes on the web. But I couldn’t find the one that would give the same result as we see it sold in shops and markets – thick dark-brown honey-like syrup with soft but undamaged pine cones of the same colour. So as it comes, I had to conduct some experiments to achieve the right result.
I consider that the result is really great: pine cone jam is easy to cook, no useless steps and no excess time wasted. You should use a pot made of stainless steel, please note that later you will clean it with a solvent (in order to get rid of resin), so if there’s a scale inside it can be lost after cleaning. The bigger (especially higher) the pot is the better – when boiling, syrup is bubbling and creating tiny sugary drops, in this case they will stay in a pot.
Pine cone jam is also a medicine. So if you are healthy, don’t eat more than 2-3 spoons/pine cones a day.
Ingredients for a pot with capacity 5+ l.:
- 1 kg of young pine or fir tree cones
- 3 kg of sugar
- 0,75 l of water
- 1,5 tsp of citric acid
For the more intense flavour and more cones in your jam you can take 1,5-2 kg of cones instead of 1 kg.
How to pick pine cones
Perfect pine cones for the jam should be 2-3 cm long. When they become longer, their inner part grows stiff. As you see I’ve tried to pick cones up to 7 cm long. In this case you won’t eat the whole cone – a little stub will remain.
Pine cones grow quickly, so try not to miss the right time. In my region the season is usually between 7th and 15th of June.
It’s all about your choice to wash pine cones or not. There’s enough resin on their surface so you won’t be able to wash them properly. While the sink can become easily stained with resin.
1. Add water, sugar and citric acid to a pot. Bring it to a boil at medium heat stirring until sugar dissolves. Switch off the stove and take the foam off syrup.
Citric acid is a necessary ingredient. It prevents jam from becoming a jar-size lollipop.
2. When the syrup becomes cool, not more than 30-40°C, add pine cones. Bring the jam to a boil and boil it for 5 min. occasionally stirring.
3. Switch off the stove and let the jam cool down to room temperature. Don’t cover the pot. Next step you can start as soon as it is comfortable to you – in 2-12 hours.
4. Bring pine cone jam to a boil. This time let it boil for 2 min. Switch off the stove and let the jam cool down to room temperature.
5. Prepare jars for preserving.
6. Bring pine cone jam to a boil one more time. Let it boil for 2 min. Fill jars with boiling jam and put them upside down until they cool down.
How to wash off the resin
To wash resin off hands, start with thoroughly washing hands with soap in warm water. If some resin stains are still present, cover hands with some oil and wash your hands one more time with soap.
To wash resin off steel pot, add water almost to the top of it, bring to a boil and pour it away. To get rid of the rest of resin use paper towels or some cloth that you won’t regret to throw away and a solvent (it should contain acetone). Remember to use gloves to prevent your skin from damage.